New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
December 20, 2022

Michael S. Garrity, Director of Communications | (603) 931-9375

Attorney General Formella Urges U.S. Department of Transportation to Strengthen Rules for Airline Ticket Refunds & Consumer Protections

Concord, NH – As families and airlines nationwide prepare for the bustling holiday travel season, Attorney General Formella has joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to strengthen protections for airline consumers and provide meaningful relief to those whose flights are unexpectedly canceled or significantly delayed.

"Airlines should take notice, and whether it is oversold flights or operational disruptions, they should no longer be able to simply shift their problems onto their passengers," said Attorney General John Formella. "I will continue to push the federal government to give attorneys general the authority to vigorously investigate and prosecute violations of the law that impact air traveling consumers."

In a new letter regarding the department's proposed new rules for airline ticket refunds and consumer protections, the attorneys general urge the USDOT to adopt a new framework that ensures that USDOT responds to and addresses concerns brought to the agency by state attorneys general promptly, and to develop clearer protocols to ensure timely and effective enforcement. Recommendations in the letter include the following:

  • USDOT should require airlines to advertise and sell only flights that they have adequate personnel to fly and support, and perform regular audits of airlines to ensure compliance and impose fines on airlines that do not comply;
  • USDOT should make clear that it will impose significant fines for cancellations and extended delays that are not weather-related or otherwise unavoidable;
  • USDOT should prohibit airlines from canceling flights while upselling consumers more expensive alternative flights to the same destinations; and
  • USDOT should require that credits and vouchers for future travel that are provided by airlines in the event of cancellation can be used easily without inappropriate limitations.

Last month, the federal transportation department fined several airlines and ordered refunds to consumers who were treated unfairly during the height of the covid-19 pandemic. The New Hampshire Department of Justice Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau will continue actively monitoring these concerns about airline carriers from consumers.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
1 Granite Place South | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658